Season 4 of Miami Vice premiered on September 25, 1987 on NBC with the season premiere "Contempt of Court". The fourth season concluded on May 6, 1988 after 22 episodes with the Sonny Burnett cliffhanger "Mirror Image". It was released on DVD on March 20, 2007. Season 4 is currently available for viewing on the NBC website.
- Don Johnson as Metro-Dade Detective James "Sonny" Crockett
- Philip Michael Thomas as Metro-Dade Detective Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs
- Saundra Santiago as Metro-Dade Detective Gina Calabrese
- Michael Talbott as Metro-Dade Detective Stan Switek
- Olivia Brown as Metro-Dade Detective Trudy Joplin
- Edward James Olmos as Metro-Dade Lieutenant Martin "Marty" Castillo
- Sheena Easton as Caitlin Davies (5 episodes)
- Martin Ferrero as Isadore "Izzy" Moreno (4 episodes)
- See: List of Guest Stars
- See: Season 4 Music
While nowhere near as severe as at the start of season 3, the show nevertheless undergoes several notable changes at the start of season 4, seemingly aimed at recapturing the feel of seasons 1 and 2.
- The extensive use of dark, gritty storylines is scaled back somewhat, although some nihilistic episodes still remain. At the other end of the scale, some of the lighter episodes veer wildly into science-fiction and comedy, most infamously the seventh episode "Missing Hours", which is often cited as the point when the series "jumped the shark". The disparity between dark episodes and light episodes leads to a decidedly uneven season.
- Tubbs' involvement in storylines is noticeably downscaled, leading to complaints from fans and causing some people to christen season 4 "The Don Johnson Show".
- Tubbs grows a beard for season 4 and Crockett's hair reverts to a slightly longer and shaggier version of his season 2 hairstyle, and continues to grow slightly as the season goes on.
- Pastel clothing is largely reintroduced, although some of the darker styles of the third season still appear regularly.
- Crockett returns to wearing Ray-Ban Wayfarers as his sunglasses of choice, after switching to Persol 69218s for season 3.
- Singer Sheena Easton joins the cast in "Like a Hurricane" as Crockett's girlfriend, later wife, Caitlin Davies. She would appear in five episodes before she is killed in "Deliver Us from Evil".
- Jan Hammer's musical contribution is noticeably reduced, with many of his cues from earlier seasons simply being recycled. John Petersen takes over much of the scoring workload partway through the season run, although Hammer returns to exclusively score the final two episodes of the season.
- Dick Wolf is promoted to Co-Executive Producer alongside Michael Mann, but also wrote four of the final five episodes (five overall) of the season. Much like during season 3, Michael Mann's actual impact on the series was minimal because he was busy with other projects outside of Vice, mainly the second season of Crime Story. Dick Wolf, in turn, would leave Miami Vice entirely after season 4 to focus on developing the TV series Law & Order.
- Season 4 aired Friday nights at 9:00 pm until April, 1988, when it returned to the 10:00 pm time slot it held in its first two seasons.
- A recurring "theme" of the fourth season is the Organized Crime Bureau becoming involved in cases that would realistically fall outside of their jurisdiction. While this has happened before in earlier seasons (examples include "The Home Invaders" and "Shadow in the Dark"), such occurrences were rare and often stated to be the result of exceptional circumstances, typically involving the temporary reassignment of personnel due to unusually high public pressure to solve a particular case. In season 4, these ventures outside of OCB's jurisdiction are almost never explained or justified and make it seem as though the Vice squad is the only functioning police unit in Miami, taking on any and all law enforcement details. When arriving at the scene of such cases, Crockett would often ask, "Why were we called?"
- Several of the episodes in this season are frequently rated by fans as the worst in the series, most notably "Missing Hours" and "The Cows of October".
- Michael Mann had planned to have episodes of the series set in Paris and Tokyo, but those plans ultimately fell through as ratings continued to deteriorate and brought with them reduced production budgets.
- This is the only season of the show not to have either a feature-length episode or an episode aired in two parts (although the storylines involving Frank Mosca and Fremont/Wiggins each take place across two separate episodes, and the Sonny Burnett Arc spans several episodes at the end of the season and the beginning of the next).
- The only season-end cliffhanger in the show occurs this season, with the aforementioned Sonny Burnett story arc carrying over into season 5.
- Season 4 is the first season of Vice to feature an episode that contains no outside popular music whatsoever ("Hell Hath No Fury..."), perhaps indicative of the diminishing musical budget in later seasons.
- Miami Vice's year end rating was #41, second lowest of the five seasons.
|Ep #||Prod. Code||Title||Director(s)||Writer(s)||Airdate||Repeat Airdate(s)|
|1||63504-03||"Contempt of Court"||Jan Eliasberg||Peter McCabe||September 25, 1987||December 25, 1987|
|2||63502-02||"Amen... Send Money"||James Quinn||John Schulian||October 2, 1987|
|3||63501-01||"Death and the Lady"||Colin Bucksey||David Black||October 16, 1987||January 29, 1988|
|4||63507-04||"The Big Thaw"||Richard Compton||Joseph DeBlasi||October 23, 1987||August 5, 1988|
|5||63508-05||"Child's Play"||Vern Gillum|| Story: Priscilla Turner|
Teleplay: Michael Piller
|October 30, 1987||March 25, 1988|
|6||63503-06||"God's Work"||Jan Eliasberg||Edward Tivnan||November 6, 1987||June 3, 1988|
|7||63515-07||"Missing Hours"||Ate De Jong||Thomas M. Disch||November 13, 1987|
|8||63511-08||"Like a Hurricane"||Colin Bucksey||Robert Palm||November 20, 1987||April 8, 1988|
|9||63506-09||"The Rising Sun of Death"||Leon Ichaso||Peter Lance||December 4, 1987||May 27, 1988|
|10||63517-10||"Love at First Sight"||Don Johnson||Peter McCabe||January 15, 1988|
|11||63512-11||"Rock and a Hard Place"||Colin Bucksey|| Story: Dick Wolf|
Teleplay: Robert Palm
|January 22, 1988|
|12||63510-12||"The Cows of October"||Vern Gillum||Ed Zuckerman||February 5, 1988||June 10, 1988|
|13||63520-14||"Vote of Confidence"||Randy Roberts||John Schulian||February 12, 1988||June 17, 1988|
|14||63522-15||"Baseballs of Death"||Bill Duke||Peter Lance||February 19, 1988||July 22, 1988|
|15||63514-13||"Indian Wars"||Leon Ichaso|| Story: Carl Waldman and Frank Coffey|
Teleplay: Michael Duggan, Peter Lance, Robert Palm, Carl Waldman, and Frank Coffey
|February 26, 1988||June 24, 1988|
|16||63519-16||"Honor Among Thieves?"||Jim Johnston||Jack Richardson||March 4, 1988||
September 2, 1988
January 6, 1989
|17||63521-17||"Hell Hath No Fury..."||Virgil W. Vogel|| Story: David Black|
Teleplay: Michael Duggan
|March 11, 1988||July 29, 1988|
|18||63524-18||"Badge of Dishonor"||Richard Compton|| Story: Dick Wolf|
Teleplay: Michael Duggan and Peter Lance
|March 18, 1988|
|19||63523-19||"Blood and Roses"||George Mendeluk|| Story: Dick Wolf|
Teleplay: Robert Palm
|April 1, 1988|
|20||63525-20||"A Bullet for Crockett"||Donald L. Gold|| Story: Dick Wolf|
Teleplay: Michael Duggan and Peter Lance
|April 15, 1988|
|21||63528-21||"Deliver Us from Evil"||George Mendeluk|| Story: Dick Wolf|
Teleplay: David Black, Michael Duggan, and Robert Palm
|April 29, 1988||September 9, 1988|
|22||63526-22||"Mirror Image"||Richard Compton|| Story: Daniel Sackheim and Nelson Oramas|
Teleplay: Robert Palm and Daniel Sackheim
|May 6, 1988||October 28, 1988|